Area: 2,2 km²
Location: Mafia Island, TANZANIA, EAST AFRICA
Number of inhabitants: 1366
Tourists: Around 15 people per day visit for small business, and visiting of relatives.
December – many students return and family visits for holiday season
Protected island: yes
Island Protected status: Yes – The marine area is protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries
Marine protection status: Mafia Island Marine Park – core zones/ specified use zones, general use zones that surround the island.
Chole is one of four inhabited islands in the Mafia Island Marine Park. The other islands are Jibondo, Juani and Bwejuu. All of the islands are in the marine park and front line to the challenges of conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
Chole Island has a rich cultural history. It was a significant trading town on the Swahili Coast, enroute between Kilwa and Zanzibar. There is evidence of coastal communities and beach combers from when it was first exposed from the sea about 12,000 years ago. Built heritage extends back to the Shirazi traders and a mosque of about the 1300’s. The Omani’s settled Chole Mjini around 1840-1920. It was the principal town, District Head quarters in the Mafia Archiplergo at that time. The Germans claimed Mafia via the Heligoland Treaty and lived here 1898 until Mafia fell to the British at the beginning of the First World War around 1915. Chole island has significant footprint and built heritage of the these different eras.
The subsistance economy is supported through fishing (fish, octopus and aquid), seaweed farming, agriculture (cassava, banana, sweet potatoes, fruit trees and kitchen gardens), shop keeping, traditional boat building, mat weaving and rope making.
There are ruins from the Shirazi (Mnyange old mosque, burial areas) , Omani (market street, slave-market, many traders houses and burial grounds) , German (Adult school, boma and jail).
Chole has fertile soil perhaps from sediment captured from the Rufiji river and extensive composting from its dense urban population in the past. It has extensive tree cover including mangoes, coconuts, oranges as well as giant baobabs. Some of the fig trees support the bat colonies.